There’s no easier (or tastier) appetizer than hummus and pita chips.
What’s more, hummus is highly regarded as a nutritious snack, especially compared with other dips and spreads, which tend to be high in fat and calories.
However, you might be curious if you can eat hummus on the low carb, high fat keto diet.
Hummus is usually made from just four ingredients — chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, and lemon juice. Of these four, chickpeas are the only ingredient of concern for keto dieters.
While most people on keto aim to keep their daily total carb intake below 50 grams (or net carb intake — which is total carbs minus fiber — below 25 grams), 1/2 cup (90 grams) of cooked chickpeas pack 20 grams of total carbs and 13 grams of net carbs.
This article explains whether hummus is keto-friendly and lists a few alternatives.
How many carbs are in hummus?
A 2-tablespoon (30-gram) serving of plain hummus contains:
- Calories: 78
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Total carbs: 6 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Net carbs: 4 grams
This serving size of hummus is about the size of a golf ball, so it may be a smaller amount than you’d typically serve yourself in one sitting.
Even this small amount packs 4 grams of net carbs.
Most flavors, such as roasted garlic or red pepper, won’t significantly change the carb count or amount of other nutrients.
Summary: A 2-tablespoon (30-gram) serving of hummus provides 6 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of net carbs.
Does hummus fit the keto diet?
Hummus can be part of your keto diet, but just one or two servings can quickly expend a significant portion of your daily carb allotment.
If you eat hummus, you’ll want to limit yourself to a small amount — perhaps just 2–4 tablespoons (30–60 grams), providing 4–8 grams of net carbs.
Plus, it’s best to carefully plan the other foods you eat to ensure that your carb count remains low enough to stay in ketosis, which is the metabolic state of burning fat for fuel rather than carbs.
Also, remember to carefully measure your serving, as it’s easy to overestimate how much 2–4 tablespoons (30–60 grams) is.
You’ll also want to avoid dessert hummus, which is typically chocolate-flavored and contains added sugar.
Using hummus as a dip vs. hummus as a garnish
If you use hummus as a dip, you’ll want to consider what you dip into your hummus carefully.
Most crackers are too high in carbs for the keto diet, as is pita bread — unless you specifically seek out keto-friendly versions. Even the carbs in carrots add up quickly.
Instead, celery, raw broccoli, and raw cauliflower are good dipping options.
If you’re concerned about going overboard with dip, try using hummus as a garnish. Add it to salad or soup for a flavorful, creamy twist, or use it as a low-calorie swap for mayonnaise when making low-carb sandwiches or wraps.
Treating hummus like a garnish rather than a dip makes it easier to manage your portion size.
Summary: Hummus works in small amounts on the keto diet, but you may want to use it as a garnish rather than a dip. That’s because its net carbs add up quickly.
Lower carb alternatives to hummus
While a small serving or two of hummus may be fine occasionally on the keto diet, you may want an alternative lower in carbs, especially if you’re craving a dip. Here are a few options:
- Baba ganoush. Baba ganoush is a Mediterranean spread and dip made from eggplant rather than chickpeas, although the other ingredients are similar.
- Paté. Paté is a smooth spread made from cooked chicken, beef, or duck liver. It’s high in fat and typically only contains trace amounts of carbs (though it’s expensive to buy and time-consuming to make).
- Black soybean hummus. You can also make your own hummus from black soybeans, which are incredibly high in fiber, to keep the net carb count on the lower side.
Summary: Spreads and dips like baba ganoush, liver pate, and black soybean hummus are much lower in carbs than hummus and may be a better fit for the keto diet.
While hummus is suitable for the keto diet, you’ll want to limit yourself to a small amount. Consider using it as a garnish rather than a dip, and avoid dessert flavors.
Suggested read: 32 healthy, low-calorie snack idea
You may also want to consider other low-carb dips and spreads, such as baba ganoush, pate, or black soybean hummus.
Finally, remember to choose keto-friendly crackers, pita bread, or veggies for dipping.